You’re building your business. You’ve planned things out and organized your business, structure, and refined your product or service. You know what you’ve got and where you’re going. Now, all that’s left to do is to get there. 

Your next step is to work your way into the market and get your target audience’s attention. That means putting yourself out there. You need to plan and execute your marketing strategy, and for small business owners in the digital age, the first thing you need is a website. 

Why Does a Business Need a Website?

Successful marketing is about finding potential customers and connecting with them. You can’t find customers online if you don’t have an online presence yourself. Small businesses that don’t have a website today are missing out on countless potential customers.

Even if you have a substantial physical presence, small business websites are crucial to sales and customer retention. A potential buyer may choose to check out your platform online before coming in, and an online reminder can help a one-time visitor convert into a repeat customer. 

An online platform under your control allows you to build your brand’s identity and lets your customers know the mission and vision of your company. It’s hard to underestimate the importance of websites for long-term business growth

How to Build a Website for Your Business:

It’s never been easier for a small business to find its way online. But the options are endless, so how are you supposed to decide what to do or where to go? 

There are numerous site builders and other tools you can find online to help you build a website, but you should be sure about what you want before you commit. You’ll also have to decide whether your content on a free plan with your site on another online platform or if you’re willing to pay for a premium plan to have a well-designed website of your own. 

Domain

The first step in building your website is deciding on your domain. The domain is the form your URL will take, and it’s how customers will find you online. If you build your website on another site without a unique domain name, customers will have to go through that website to get to you. 

You’ll have to pay if you want a custom domain name, but that will mean you get a unique site name. A unique web address looks more professional and makes a better impression on customers. 

Hosting

Along with your domain name, you’ll also need to choose what site or platform to use for web hosting. Some providers will allow you to have a website for free hosted through their platform, but the best web hosting services cost money to get established. 

Design

Your website’s quality and design matter a lot when trying to create a presence online and build your reputation. However, your decision may also depend on what you want out of your website. It might be enough for your business to use a free website builder with a simple design template. 

However, you’d be surprised how vital web design is for small business marketing. When people visit and use so many websites each day, they immediately notice good or bad website design. You want your website to be clean, easy to use, and elegant.  

Payment Processing

Is your website going to be a way for customers to find out more about your business, or do you want it to be another avenue for making sales directly? 

If you’re creating an online store for your products and services, you’ll need to set up payment processing for customers to enter their financial information. This may mean paying regular fees to process card payments from customers, but there are many online payment services at many different cost points that might work for you. 

Marketing Your Website

A well-designed and effective website can help you complete sales and develop loyal relationships with customers. The next step is to find ways to direct your audience to your site. 

Email Campaigns

Email may not seem like the most exciting online advertising method, but it’s still valid for many businesses, and it’s relatively cheap. This is most useful for further developing existing customer relationships. 

New customers can give you their email addresses, and then you can use email to connect with them later. Offer them exclusive deals or discounts and remind them of the wonderful services you provide! 

Social Media

Branching into social media can also be a powerful way to connect with potential customers and direct people to your website. Engage with your audience on social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram.

If you’re producing content on a blog through your site, you can also share your content on social media and drive readers directly to your site. This is one of the best marketing strategies for small businesses

Search Engine Optimization

Another way people may find your website is through search engines. You can make your site more likely to show up higher in search results through search engine optimization (SEO). That means adapting your online content to use keywords and terms your customers are likely to use in searches. 

Starting a blog or producing other content on your website is a useful tool for this as well. You can use online content to build links with other helpful and relevant content online, effectively showing search engines that your content is worthwhile.   

Offline Marketing

The world of marketing has changed, and it’s no longer possible to get by without a significant investment in your online presence. However, that doesn’t mean that offline marketing is entirely irrelevant. Both digital and traditional marketing can be worthwhile. Depending on your particular audience demographics, traditional marketing may still play a very significant role. 

Networking

Building relationships with other businesses in your area is always worthwhile. Get to know people in your community and be willing to learn and collaborate. 

Network marketing in your area can also help as you begin to get customer referrals, and your brand begins to spread by word of mouth in your community. 

Direct Mail

Some people truly appreciate a thoughtful letter. If you have addresses of specific customers or reliable information about potential customers in a particular limited area, direct mail can be useful in getting the word out about your business. However, if you’re trying mass mail over a large area, this can quickly become an unnecessary expense. 

Sales Calls

There’s no substitute for actually getting on the phone and speaking directly with a customer. While a cold call out of nowhere may have a reduced success rate, a call may be very effective at sealing a deal if you’ve got an interested potential customer reaching out for more information. 

Sales calls in the digital age may seem out of place, but they can provide a unique opportunity to connect with people and improve your service in an invaluable way. 

Print Advertising

The efficiency of print advertising depends on the particular demographic you’re aiming for and the geographic area you’re targeting for your business. Print advertising could be a great way to get in touch with customers who are more likely to read the local paper than browse social media. 

For some businesses and demographics, traditional print advertising targets like the Yellow Pages can still be a worthwhile investment. The important thing is to make the right decisions for your particular business. 

Events

Events are another valuable way to draw attention and introduce more people to what you have to offer. You can host a grand opening if you’re new to an area, advertise and provide exclusive deals for people that attend. And even if you’re not new, it’s never hard to come up with an excuse for a party or a special bargain event. 

Conclusion

You’ve put in the work, and you’re offering a product that carries real value. But unfortunately, customers will never realize what they’re missing unless you find a way to show them. That’s why marketing and building an online platform are so important. 

Follow these tips and get started with a comprehensive marketing plan, and you’ll be well on your way to healthy and sustainable growth for your small business. And once your customers are interested and in the door, all you’ve got to do is make the sale

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Written by Dave Savoy

Dave Savoy leads Marketing with 1-800Accountant bringing 15+ years of experience in traditional and digital marketing platforms. Prior to j...